27 October 2008

Gilad Atzmon on the Financial Crisis - The Jews Are to Blame

It would not be surprising if, with the current economic and financial meltdown, someone didn’t blame the Jews (or Zionists). It is therefore no surprise that our old friend Gilad Atzmon has once again leapt into the breach with his latest article, Credit Crunch or rather Zio Punch?

At a time when even the fascist British National Party no longer plays the Jewish card
it is left to Gilad Atzmon to concoct a weird conspiracy of Zionist imperialist warmongers and financiers who have somehow engineered the vast mountain of credit debt that has all but brought down British, European and American banks:
‘the people who keep the Palestinians starved behind walls, are unfortunately very much the same people who are responsible for a class genocide of millions of disenfranchised Americans who are now on the brink of total dispossession.’

Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis ‘scooter’ Libby are, it would appear, single-handedly responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It has to be said that although Atzmon is at his normal incoherent, contradictory and long-winded best, the message is crystal clear. We are told in one paragraph that
the current economic disaster endangers the security of millions of Western Jews who have really nothing to do with global economy, banking and global Zionism. It would be devastating to see innocent Jews being implicated collectively by the crimes committed by a very few tribal nationalist enthusiasts.

A few paragraphs previously Atzmon informs us that:
Jews are not necessarily Zionists. They can also be humanists, universalists, ordinary human beings… However, the Zionists amongst the Jews are very easy to trace. They always operate politically as Jews. They run Jewish lobbies, think tanks and pressure groups. For that matter, Jewish American Committee (JAC), AIPAC, Jews For Peace and Anti Zionist Jews are all different forms of Jewish tribal national politics…. they are all rabid Zionists who are set to serve what they regard as Jewish tribal interests.

If one can penetrate this gobbledydook, Jews are ‘racially oriented’, part of a separate tribe, despite the fact that tribes went out of fashion over a thousand years ago in most of the West.’

So whatever their politics, be they anti-Zionist or Zionist, in favour of peace or war, Jews cannot help but serve ‘Jewish tribal interests.’ If anyone is in any doubt as to the genesis of these fantasies, they could do worse than consult the Foreword to Norman Cohn’s ‘Warrant for Genocide – the myth of the Jewish world conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ Describing the interrogations of leaders of the SS after the war he wrote that What I kept coming across was, rather, a conviction that Jews – all Jews everywhere in the world – form a conspiratorial body set on ruining and then dominating the rest of mankind.’ As part of this fantasy the Bolsheviks were funded by American Jewish bankers and Lenin was someone ‘who Hitler and Eckart both assumed to be a Jew. (203 Cohn).

Indeed The Protocols outlined much the same conspiracy theory as Atzmon.
‘THIS HATRED WILL BE STILL FURTHER MAGNIFIED BY THE EFFECTS of an ECONOMIC CRISES, which will stop dealing on the exchanges and bring industry to a standstill. We shall create by all the secret subterranean methods open to us and with the aid of gold, which is all in our hands, A UNIVERSAL ECONOMIC CRISES WHEREBY WE SHALL THROW UPON THE STREETS WHOLE MOBS OF WORKERS SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ALL THE COUNTRIES OF EUROPE.’

The irony, which is lost on Atzmon is that the Protocols began life as ‘a brilliant but long-forgotten defence of liberalism’ in the form of an attack on the tyranny of Napoleon III.'(p.81)

Atzmon too is under no doubt. ‘Throughout the centuries, Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution.’ Quite why reactionary American Jewish bankers should have financed a revolution directed against their interests is never explained, unless of course it is the racial nexus. But the footnote assures us that

‘Jacob Schiff (the head of Kuhn, Loeb & Company) is credited with giving twenty million dollars to the Bolshevik revolution. A year after his death the Bolsheviks deposited over six hundred million rubles to Schiff’s banking firm Kuhn & Loeb. (New York Journal American 1949. February 3.)’

For Atzmon too ‘Lenin and Trotzky [sic] were Jews.’ Paul Wolfowitz, whose powers were not enough to prevent him being sacked as President of the World Bank, has it would seem almost single-handedly engineered this crisis. Quite why his superior, the non-Jewish Dick Cheney, should have allowed this is unclear, but one suspects that like Lenin there is some Jewish blood there somewhere. After all ‘In 2003, by the time youngster of Zion Wolfowitz was on the verge of becoming a proper elder, America was taken into an illegal war in Iraq.’ Wolfowitz may be an Elder of Zion, as per the Protocols, but it was not long ago that he was in training for the role!

And returning to a familiar theme Atzmon asks ‘How is it that America that had all the ‘necessary warnings’ had found itself just ten years later acting as an Israeli mission force fighting the last pockets of resistance to Jewish national imperialism?’ which is an echo of the same argument in his ‘on anti-Semitism’ essay:

Surprisingly Atzmon’s answer is mundane. ‘Money is probably the answer, it indeed makes the world go round, or at least the ‘American housing market’. So if money, i.e. capitalism is to blame why then the tortuous detours via the Wolfowitz doctrine, Lenin and ‘racially oriented tribal pressure groups.’ We are never told.

But Atzmon asks a series of questions under the title ‘Kosher Snatch or Zion Punch?’ One which seems to particularly disturb him is why ‘the British Empire found itself promising the Zionists a Jewish National home in 1917? Have you ever asked yourself what Balfour received in return?’ In fact the footnote to his own question half gets it right, viz. the hostility of American Jews to an alliance with the pogromists of Czarist Russia against Germany. Leonard Stein’s Balfour Declaration also gives this as a reason. (p.533) But it was never the main reason, which clearly was the strategic situation of Palestine, adjacent to the Suez Canal, and the desirability of a friendly pro-British colonial settlement there. But it’s far better to look for racial conspiracies than obvious facts.

Perhaps the nastiest piece of racism is when Atzmon calls for ‘A Zionist who declares affiliation with foreign national interests should never be appointed by any administration or any other political institution.’ Given his definition of what constitutes a Zionist, it is clear that this is a euphemism for Jews per se. He is quick to assure us, that ‘The issue here is not at all about religious belief, ethnic origin or racial orientation.’ and immediately contradicts himself when he describes a wide variety of Jews – Zionist and anti-Zionist as ‘racially orientated tribal pressure groups.’

And in what is the most dishonest of all his polemics, Atzmon takes aim, once again, at the anti-Zionist Bund, the General Jewish Workers Union of Russia, Lithuania and Poland and a co-founder of the Russian Social Democratic Party. If anyone is in any doubt that when Atzmon says ‘Zionist’ he means ‘Jew’ then his attacks on the Bund prove that. The Bund was resolutely in favour of fighting for socialism and against anti-Semitism where Jews lived, not in emigrating to Palestine. It led the heroic resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto and the sole surviving commander of that fight, Marek Edelman, was a dedicated opponent of Zionism. But to Atzmon:
‘The Bund, on the other hand, was a rabid Zionist setting in spite of the fact that it ‘formally’ opposed Zionism. It was Zionist just because it operated as a tribal political setting. It was Zionist just because it was racially orientated rather than universally motivated’.

Leaving aside his clear and obvious anti-Semitism, the essay is a muddle of innuendo, half-truth and assertion. It is little wonder that when Atzmon asks the obvious question we can be forgiven for having assumed it. ‘You may wonder at this stage whether I regard the credit crunch as a Zionist plot. In fact it is the opposite. It is actually a Zionist accident.’ Which may, to him, be a clever formulation, but is as empty as the rest. If the financial crisis is a ‘Zionist accident’ (as opposed to being deliberate) then clearly the Zionists are responsible.

Perhaps the comments are the most revealing. One argues that ‘In fact, while I agree that Trotsky was not a Zionists, I do think that he operated primarily as a Jew.’ which Atzmon readily accedes to. Another suggests that ‘some solid facts about jewish influence would help?’. These anti-Semites are never strong on facts unfortunately! One informs us that ‘Zionists control the US government and the media. If you have a significant position in the government or are a significant voice in public, the Zionists will destroy.’
The one person to oppose this garbage is informed that ‘you’ve missed the point; jews ARE the ruling class in the US - not less than 30% of the stinking rich, and about 50% of the billionaires. This isn’t a conspiracy theory; … The question is: do they act together in a common jewish, rather than simply capitalist, interest? The answer is: how else could these percentages have come about?’ And there we have it. As Gilad comments ‘As we can see Zionism qualifies one as a Jew… read the JC’. Apparently the Chairman of Lloyds TSB Victor Blank is a Jew!

What is shocking is the response of Ian Donovan of Respect. Although Donovan takes Atzmon to task for some of his stuff, not least Lenin’s Jewish origins, he concedes from the start that ‘This article makes some interesting points, but it really does cross the rubicon to promote some myths that really are anti-semitic. At the very least, it is contradictory about the myth of Jewish capitalists financing the Bolsheviks.’ And when Atzmon responds with his dubious source, a Berkeley Prof. Slezkine, concerning Lenin’s Jewishness, Donovan responds that it is ‘Always a good sign when someone responds to criticism by recommending a book to read.’ Yes Ian. But there are books and books. Quite what someone who was once a socialist is doing debating the merits of the world Jewish conspiracy beggars belief.

But for one person ‘Most shockingly Slezkine describes that Lenin’s return to Russia was funded by American-Jewish soup millionaire Josef Fels & orchistrated by Jewish multi-millionaire Alexander Parvus,…’ In the world of the conspiracy theory there is so much to shock one’s tender conscience and so little time to get the message abroad.

If anyone is in any doubt about Atzmon’s anti-semitic credentials, it is the apology at the end. John Reynolds, writing in The Observer, suggested that one answer to the financial crisis was for there to be more Christians active in the City. A typically na├»ve liberal belief that the cause of the financial crisis is a lack of moral backbone rather than the operations of the free market and capitalist economics. To Atzmon
Reynolds, the chairman of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group protests against the non-ethical spirit that has been abundant in the City for more than a while…. he may try to suggest to us that our financial world must be spiritually de-Judified.
There is nothing like the threat of a libel action to clarify the mind.
But the real message is that the Palestine Think Tank is as anti-Semitic as Mary Rizzo’s old Peace Palestine blog and Atzmon takes another step into the sewer of political reaction. My only question is why the Socialist Workers Party continues to defend him.
Tony Greenstein

25 October 2008

International Jewish anti-Zionist Network is Born

When I became an anti-Zionist as a teenager, there were no role models or indeed any examples that I knew of. Being a Jewish anti-Zionist was a lonely and solitary experience. True when I joined the International Socialists (SWP) there were a number of Jewish members, but anti-Zionism was not a hot topic.

Today the situation has changed out of all recognition. Meetings of hundreds of Jews questioning Israel are now the norm, as the non-Zionist Independent Jewish Voices demonstrate.
And now the explicitly International Jewish anti-Zionist Network has been formed. Jews have not only begun to recognise that the Jewish experience of anti-Semitism is not compatible with supporting the same form of racism when perpetrated by Israel, but that Zionism can only endanger their own position in society.

It was therefore doubly welcome that a packed meeting of IJAN launched the network in Israel tonight in a church hall in north London. Chaired by Selma James there was a large platform of speakers, including Professor Moshe Machover, founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist organisation Matzpen and Ghada Kharmi, a distinguished Palestinian doctor and academic, author of ‘Married to Another Man – Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine’. Messages of support to the meeting and the presence of people like Omar Deghayes, the Libyan refugee who was imprisoned for 5 years in Guantanamo where he was blinded in one eye, emphasised the importance of the occasion. Other speakers included Michael Kalmanovitz.

The meeting took the decision to prioritise the campaign against the openly racist Jewish National Fund, which together with the Israeli Lands Administration, controls 93% of Israeli land, which can only be leased, rented or sold to Jews. Tony Greenstein introduced the discussion on the JNF giving a short history of the JNF’s inglorious history.

A meeting has been arranged for 6th November when further decisions on the JNF campaign will be planned. There are a number of things which will have to be discussed including putting the group on a democratic footing, debating the Charter of IJAN since many of us don’t agree with some of the analysis e.g. on Misrahi/Oriental Jews in Israel.


A couple of Zionist interlopers at the meeting, including Mad Mikey Ezra, were given short shrift especially when Mikey tried to trip me up. Mikey, who only last week at the debate betwen the AWL and CPGB started pushing me and Roland Rance, was apparently left with a sore foot as a result of his attempts to commit another assault. At a previous meeting he deliberately trod on the foot of an anti-Zionist. He and his friend were left in no doubt that their presence, with blackberries texting reports of the meeting to others, were not welcome. Mikey is a strange character who goes around anti-Zionist meetings saying nothing but reporting or recording them. He works with the fascist Kach group in Israel, and their academic supporter one Prof. Steve Plaut of Haifa Universit with whom he bombards the Alef (Academic Left) e-list with fake messages.

This hasn't stopped Mikey claiming that he was the victim of an unprovoked assault claiming he was only sprawling, with his feet adrift in the aisles! Naturally his plight has been taken up by the racist pro-war blog, Harry's Place where David 'necklace' Herman posted his usual advice:

''At the risk of sounding thuggish you should have headbutted the motherfucker.'
What this incident does point to though is the need for more security at anti-Zionist meetings due to the fact that there is a history of attacks by Zionist thugs on people who attend them.

22 October 2008

The False Arguments of the anti-Boycotters

The Boycott and Palestinian Groups

Since the launch of the Palestinian boycott movement a few years ago, we have experienced an awkward phenomenon that demands urgent comment. Several organizations known for years -- in some cases, decades -- for their tireless Palestine solidarity work stood firmly against the Palestinian civil society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS, issued on July 9, 2005, for various reasons. Some said such tactics were "harmful" to the Palestinian struggle. Others opined that BDS would undermine the so-called Israeli "peace" movement. Others, still, stated that boycotting Israel would invite accusations of anti-Semitism and betrayal of the Holocaust victims, thereby setting back Palestine solidarity work in a substantial way.

Many other arguments were written in thousands of articles over the years, but they were less significant or consequential; so I shall focus only on the above three.

Boycott is counter-productive?

Is it? Who is to judge? A Call signed by more than 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, NGOs and networks, representing the entire spectrum of Palestinian civil society -- under occupation, in Israel, and in the diaspora – cannot be "counter-productive" unless Palestinians are not rational or intelligent enough to know or articulate what is in their best interest. This argument smacks of patronization and betrays a colonial attitude that we thought -- hoped! -- was extinct in liberal Europe.

Pragmatically speaking, the BDS process has proved over the past few years that it is among the most effective forms of civil, non-violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonial and apartheid regime. The sheer breadth and depth of support this Call has garnered among major trade unions, academic associations, church groups, and other grassroots organizations in South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and even the US, among others, attest to the efficacy and enormous potential of this campaign in resisting Israeli injustice. For the first time in decades, many movements in Europe, for instance, that have supported peace with justice in Palestine through demonstrations, public appeals and -- mostly marginal -- media work, discovered a process that they can actively and effectively contribute to and that promises to bring about concrete results on the ground, as proved to be the case in the struggle against apartheid struggle in South Africa. Judging by results so far, and as our South African comrades have told us repeatedly, our BDS campaign is moving at a faster pace than theirs ever did.

BDS Undermines the Israeli "Peace" Movement?

What Israeli peace movement? There is no such creature. The so-called peace groups in Israel largely work to improve Israeli oppression against the Palestinians, rather than eliminate it, with their chief objective being the guarantee of Israel's future as a "Jewish" -- i.e. exclusivist -- State. The most radical Israeli "Zionist-left" groups are still Zionist, adhering to the racist principles of Zionism that view the indigenous Palestinians as lesser humans that are an obstacle or a "demographic threat" to be dealt with. Specifically, they are opposed to the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and ever since, to return to their homes and lands, simply because they are the "wrong" type. These groups also oppose ending the unique form of apartheid that dominates the entire State of Israel, where a decades-old system of racial discrimination, enshrined in the law, treats "non-Jewish" citizens of the State as second-class citizens who are not entitled to all the rights that Jewish citizens enjoy. If this the Israeli "peace" movement, then no conscientious person should feel sorry about undermining it!
Those who claim that "most" Israelis simply do not know about the crimes of the occupation and need to be talked to, not boycotted, are not only assuming wrong premises, but also reaching a false conclusion. Most Israelis obediently serve in the occupation army without qualms or moral pangs, as part of the obligatory reserve duty. They, therefore, know first-hand about the occupation's crimes since they either participate in committing them, directly, or watch them being perpetrated in silence, thereby indirectly colluding in them. Plus, the Palestinian BDS was never a blanket boycott against individual Israelis. It is consistently institutional in nature, targeting all Israeli academic, cultural, economic and political institutions, specifically because they are complicit in maintaining the occupation and other forms of racist and colonial oppression against the indigenous Palestinians. Finally, "talking" to Israelis, as in the flourishing "peace" industry's dialogue groups, has not only been misleading and terribly harmful to the struggle for a just peace, giving the false impression that coexistence can be achieved despite the Zionist oppression, but has also failed to bring about any positive change in Israeli public opinion towards supporting justice as a condition for peace. The Israeli-Jewish public is steadily and dangerously shifting to the fanatic right, with a growing majority supporting fascist solutions, such as ethnic cleansing -- called "transfer" in the sanitized Israeli mainstream jargon -- of the remaining indigenous Palestinians.

Dialogue and joint Palestinian Israeli struggle can only be justifiable, constructive and conducive to just peace if directed against the occupation and other forms of oppression and based on international law and basic human and political rights, particularly our inalienable right to self determination.

Based on the above, the only true fighters for peace in Israel are those who support our three fundamental rights: the right of return for Palestinian refugees; full equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel; and ending the occupation and colonial rule. Those are our true partners. They ALL support various forms of BDS, not only out of principle, but also because they realize that genuine, sustainable peace and security for all can never be achieved without justice, international law, universal human rights and, most crucially, equality. BDS will only strengthen that true peace – with justice – movement in Israel and everywhere else.

European solidarity groups that consciously allow Zionist left figures and movements to dictate their agendas, steering them away from coordinating with Palestinian civil society and understanding its real needs, rather than committing themselves first and foremost to human rights and international law, hardly deserve the name "solidarity" groups.

On the other hand, groups that, for tactical reasons, support only a subset of BDS, or a targeted boycott of specific products or organizations in Israel or supporting Israel, are also our partners, of course. Boycott is not a one-size-fits-all type of process. It must be customized to suit a particular context to be most effective. What is important to agree on, though, is why we are boycotting and towards what ends. BDS is a rights-based approach with clear objectives that ought to form a common denominator for all groups in solidarity with Palestine. Ending the three main forms of Israeli injustice and advocating the corresponding Palestinian rights are the basic requirements for this international campaign to be effective and in harmony with the express needs and aspirations of Palestinian civil society.

BDS Promotes Anti-Semitism?

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I shall just copy here some of what I wrote earlier, in a longer article refuting the main anti-boycott arguments:

"As the French philosopher Etienne Balibar says, 'Israel should not be allowed to instrumentalize the genocide of European Jews to put [itself] above the law of nations.'

Beyond that, by turning a blind eye to Israel's oppression, as the U.S. and most of official Europe often do, the West has in fact perpetuated the misery, the human suffering and the injustice that have ensued since the Holocaust.As to the anti-Semitism charge, it is patently misplaced and clearly used as a tool of intellectual intimidation. It is hardly worth reiterating that Palestinian calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions do not target Jews or even Israelis qua Jews. They are strictly directed against Israel as a colonial power that violates Palestinian rights and international law. The growing support among progressive European and American Jews for effective pressure on Israel is one counter-argument that is not well publicized."

Moreover, considering actions and positions that target Israeli apartheid and colonial rule anti-Semitic is itself anti-Semitic, as was argued by many before me, for they assume that all Jews, per se, are somehow responsible for Israeli crimes, a patently racist assumption that belongs to the "collective responsibility" school of thought – criminalized at Nuremberg -- and directly feeds anti-Semitism.

BDS is a civil form of struggle against Israel, regardless what religion most Israelis follow. It hardly matters what faith your oppressors belong to, really -- whether they are Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu is almost irrelevant! The ONLY thing that matters is that they are illegally, immorally oppressing you.

Projects supporting Palestinian steadfastness under occupation, whether in the health, education, social or even political domains, are crucial and always needed. Many Palestinians, particularly the most vulnerable, cannot survive the cruelty of occupation without them. We appreciate the support for these projects tremendously – at least those of them that are not corrupt or corrupting, as many are. But this does not mean that we are for a moment convinced that such projects alone, plus token support for some abstract notion of "peace," can advance our struggle for freedom and justice. Only by ending the occupation and apartheid can we get there. And, experience tells us, the most reliable, morally justifiable way to do that is by treating Israel as apartheid South Africa was, by applying various, context-sensitive and evolving measures of BDS against it. There is no better way to achieve just peace in Palestine and the entire region.

Omar Barghouti is a freelance choreographer, cultural analyst and founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (www.PACBI.org).

19 October 2008

Ex-UJS Officer, David Herman Openly Advocates Murder of Jewish anti-Zionists - on Harry's Place

Even some socialists have been taken in by the ‘free speech’ pretensions of the overtly racist (in particular anti-Muslim racist) and pro-war site Harry’s Place. When one of their victims, Jenna Delich, foolishly and mistakenly posted a link to David Duke’s web site she was libelled by city solicitor David Toube as someone who ‘reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis.’

In return she threatened a libel action which resulted in HP being taken off the web by its ISP. Socialist Unity and others mistakenly saw a defence of free speech as being equivalent to supporting HP’s right to indulge in its usual bout of racist hate mongering.

An article by Mikey Ezra, the Barry George of the Zionist movement, purports to be a report of the debate between the AWL and CPGB on Iran/Palestine last week. Underneath there a remarkable post by one David Herman. Herman, was an officer with the Union of Jewish Students nearly 20 years ago. Since then he has become a minor film producer, one of whose productions appeared on Channel 4 some time ago, and is also listed as an Advisory Editor of Engage. . He is generally remembered as an unpleasant, humourless, thuggish but otherwise stupid.

Engage is a site which is devoted to smearing supporters of a Boycott of Israel as ‘anti-semitic.’ Although it portrays itself as a ‘leftist’ site, a cursory reading of its comments quickly shows that it shares much the same right-wing audience as Harry’s Place. It’s a strange form of leftism which includes as its guest posters people like the Zionist friend of Gilad Atzmon, Mad Mikey Ezra. See original.

But what was different from the normal abuse was an open call to violence by Herman, in a comment posted on 16th October 2008 at 2.13 p.m.
‘To cut through the nonsense - both Greenstien and Rance are long term anti-zionists who want to see Israel destroyed/disappear/be no more (take your pick) for some reason they believe the fact that they’re Jewish adds some moral weight to their position.
I believe they’re psychologically flawed fools who collaborate with the enemies of the Jewish people.
They should remember that in the Nazi ghettos of Europe and the townships of South Africa the first people that the resistance targeted were collaborators.
In less forgiving times they would be recei ving a necklace for hanukah!’

The implication is obvious.

Now Herman was never a student of history as he would be aware that Zionism specialised in collaboration with the Nazis and were likewise favoured by them. Most of the Chairmen of the Judenrat, Nazi appointed Jewish Councils were Zionists (Rumkowski, Gens, Czerniakow, Kareski to name but a few).
As even the late Zionist historian, Lucy Dawidowicz admitted:

"The only underground political organisation of significance soon after the German occupation [of Poland] was the Bund, with its centre in Warsaw" (War Against the Jews, pp. 322/3)

Likewise she wrote of Reinhardt Heydrich, described by Gerald Reitlinger in ‘The Final Solution’ as the ‘engineer’ of the Final Solution and his orders to the SS:
‘The activity of the Zionist orientated youth organisations are not to be treated with the strictness that it is necessary to apply to the members of the so-called German Jewish organisations (assimilationists).’

War Against the Jews, p. 118. And on 5 May 1935 Schwarze Korps, official organ of the SS, argued that the Jews had to be separated into 2 categories Zionists and assimilationists:

"The Zionists adhere to a strict racial position and by emigrating to Palestine are helping to build their own Jewish) state." whereas "The assimilation minded Jews deny their race and insist on their loyalty to Germany... in order to subvert National Socialist principles.’

All of this is well known, so when Jewish anti-Zionists are accused of ‘self-hatred’ it is the usual racist nonsense that was levelled by the Nazis at anti-fascist Germans. Literally hating the racial state means hating yourself because in the fascist world, the individual’s purpose is to serve the State.

But what is striking about Herman’s contribution is that it is an open call for murderous violence against anti-Zionist Jews, Roland Rance and Tony Greenstein in particular, but anyone who breaks from Zionism in the Jewish community. Anyone with a memory of the South African liberation struggle will remember that one of the least attractive aspects of the struggle in the townships was the advocacy by Winnie Mandela of placing burning tyres around the necks of victims.
That the nondescript Herman openly open advocates the murder of political opponents, anti-Zionist Jews, is not surprising. His associate Mikey, although friendly to the AWL also works with the openly fascist Prof. Steve Plaut of Haifa University a member of Kach, a Jewish Nazi party in Israel, posting fake e-mails to the Alef (Academic Left) site hosted by Professor Avraham Oz of Haifa.

But what is interesting is the comment of Mark Gardener, underneath that of Herman. Gardener is the Head of Communications of the shadowy Community Security Trust. The CST is behind the idea that anti-Semitism is increasing in Britain as a means of persuading British Jews to emigrate to Israel. He featured prominently in the Richard Littlejohn programme in June 2007 about ‘anti-Semitism’.

The CST is identified with the Herut/Betar Greater Israel wing of Zionism (though to be fair these distinctions are largely irrelevant today as Herman would probably also claim to still retain links with Labour Zionism). It is an extremely well funded organisation (over £5m income both in 2005 and 2006. Its accounts reveal nothing about its sources of funding and are usually delivered at the last minute, the 2007 ones have not been filed after nearly 10 months. It spends £500,000 of its money on fundraising and of its employees two earn between £60-70,000, one receives between £80-90,000 and one receives between £100-110,000. Clearly fighting ‘anti-Semitism’ is profitable for some people. The Jewish Chronicle last year described the CST as the most opaque of all Jewish charities.

Its Trustees are not, quite uniquely, listed on the Charity Commission site, having been given a dispensation. Likewise there is nothing about its activities and quite bizzarely it lists its only area of operation as Liverpool and surrounding areas. One of the few people who are listed in its accounts is one Gerald Ronson, jailed in the Guiness Affair many years ago. Ronson is well known as a Herut/Greater Israel supporter and owner of Britain’s largest private company, Heron. It would seem that the CST, which is well known for attacking Jewish leftists (including on one occasion even a supporter of the Zionist Mapam group) has also moved into the Kach orbit.

This is what Gardener says at 5.49 pm on 16.10.08: Leaving aside a long quote from Jews against Zionism which he has taken from a pro-Hizbollah site (whatever that is) rather than directly from the JAZ site:

‘Now, you can have a Talmudic disputation as to how the "dismantlement of the Zionist structure of the state of Israel" does not equal "smash Zionism" or "destroy Israel" but I’m in David Herman’s (considerable) shadow on this one. We know where Rance and Greenstein stand, we know their previous, and its exactly why pro-Hizbollah websites carry their propaganda. Duh.’

Duh indeed. When Herman advocates ‘necklacing’ of his political opponents, Gardener’s only response is that ‘I’m in David Herman’s (considerable) shadow on this one’. Quite! Of course Herut used to have a long record of physically attacking all pro-Palestinian meetings but, theoretically at least, there was a distinction between them and open fascists in the Kach group. Clearly that is no longer the case and Gardner too is now supportive of fascist violence (as long as it’s not against Zionist Jews). A strange position of course for someone who makes a good living (£110,000?) from ‘fighting anti-Semitism’ and with whom the Police openly work. But what it does do is destroy the notion that the CST is an impartial and unbiased recorder of anti-semitic incidents, as some believe.
Tony Greenstein

16 October 2008

The Arab-Jewish Clashes in Acre and the Connection to Israel's Extremist Settlers

A man walks past a car with a damaged windshield following the Acre clashes.
By Ali Abunimah Palestine Center Fellow

Acre, a mixed city of approximately 52,000 people in northern Israel, recently witnessed four days of violent clashes between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jewish residents. While the facts and meaning of these events have been heavily contested, one of the underreported factors is the extent to which militant Israeli settlers from the West Bank, funded by donors in the United States, have instigated tension in Acre and other cities in an attempt to reduce their Arab populations. This brief will summarize the facts available from public sources and provide background and analysis.

Israeli leaders have presented the events in Acre as unfortunate intercommunal violence in an otherwise peaceful city. Palestinians have perceived them-correctly it would appear-as being related to efforts organized by Jewish extremists to force Arabs out of the city (Palestinians in Israel are citizens of the state and are often also referred to as "Arabs").

What Happened?

The disturbances began after a Palestinian resident of Acre drove into the eastern predominantly Jewish neighborhood around midnight on Wednesday, 9 October 2008 during the observance of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday. This prompted a violent reaction from Jewish residents and soon, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, "Police warded off hundreds of Jewish rioters, chanting 'death to the Arabs,' and trying to storm the city's main road."1 As word spread of the attack on the Arab driver, hundreds of Arab youths came to the scene.

Violent clashes between Jewish and Arab residents continued for several nights as police intervened with riot control methods including water cannons. According to Israeli police, many Arab families had to be evacuated and about a dozen Arab homes were set on fire. 2

Brutal scenes were alleged and witnessed over four days. For example, an Israeli journalist witnessed Jewish youths armed with stones moving around the city looking for Palestinian citizens to attack and shouting, "Death to the Arabs." In one case, they mistakenly attacked a Jew (most of Acre's Jewish residents are Mizrahi Jews who originally came to Israel from Arab countries). 3

When Arab residents, who were forced out of their homes by Jewish attacks, attempted to return under police guard to retrieve belongings, they were stoned by Jews who shouted racial epithets at them. 4 Israel army radio and Arab residents of the city claimed that dozens of extremists affiliated with the West Bank settler movement had come in to Acre to take part in the violence (see below).5 La'a Ramal, an Arab resident whose home was attacked, said that her house had been torched three times in recent years, and several families had already left the area as a result of persistent intimidation. 6

Jewish residents told reporters that Arabs armed with axes came into their neighborhood, destroyed cars and shops and shouted, "Death to the Jews." David Azoulay, an Israeli Jewish Knesset member from the religious Shas party who lives in Acre, said, "I myself heard them [the Arabs] calling, 'Allahu Akbar! Kill the Jews!'" This was denied by Palestinian Israeli Knesset member Abbas Zakour, who also lives in the city. 7 Other reports stated that rumors had spread through the Arab old city that an Arab man had been killed, prompting Arab residents into the streets. 8

In the end, 54 people-Jews and Arabs-were arrested and about 100 cars and several dozen shops were damaged. Several minor injuries were reported. While Jews and Arabs took part in the violence, on 12 October 2008, on the third day of the disturbances, Major-General Shimon Koren, commander of Israel's Northern District police, said the riots had been instigated by Jews and "the majority of rioters causing disturbances in [Acre] are Jews."9

How Did It Begin?

According to Acre resident Tawfiq Jamal's own account, he drove into a predominantly Jewish area with his son and a friend at around 11 p.m. in order to pick up his daughter from the home of relatives where she had been helping prepare baked sweets for a wedding. When they arrived, according to Jamal:
I asked my son to take the baking dishes out of the car and proceeded to walk (toward the house) when (the Jews) suddenly began hurling stones at us. The stones hit my son and the car. My son was lying down because [he] was hit in the face, back and chest; I managed to grab him and pull him into the building.

The three men went into the building and called the police and emergency services, who arrived after a few minutes. However, Jamal stated, "Throughout the entire time, despite police presence, the [Jewish] youngsters continued to throw rocks and chant 'death to the Arabs,' while my son's face was bleeding and his friend almost passed out."10

Jamal recounted that he and the two youths were then evacuated by police and told to take shelter in a squad car. When the car did not start, the police fled and told Jamal and the two youths to do the same. Jamal stated that they were saved only by a Jewish night watchman who hid them in his guard booth, locked the door and turned off the lights. Jamal compared his situation to that of two Israeli soldiers wearing civilian clothes who were captured and brutally killed by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah in December 2000 and feared that his group's fate would be the same.

Jamal strenuously denied allegations he had been drinking and deliberately started the incident by playing loud music. Israeli police also alleged that an unnamed Arab youth had broken into a mosque and used the loudspeaker system to alert Arab residents of the attack and to call for help after receiving a phone call from Jamal's brother. They stated the suspect had not been arrested because he had fled. 11 Acre Police Commander Avraham Edri partially confirmed Jamal's account, telling the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee that:
When my officers arrived at the scene, they had to handle 300-400 people who had already lifted the driver's car in the air. Our first mission was to prevent casualties. We released the driver from the mob and helped him into an apartment nearby...My staff served as a barrier between him and the excited mob; the policemen were hurt but not one civilian was injured.12

Speaking before the Knesset committee on October 12, Jamal apologized for driving into the Jewish area and said he had "made a mistake." Despite this, Israeli police arrested Jamal for "harming religious sensitivities, speeding and reckless endangerment" and remanded him in custody. There were no reports of arrests specifically for the attempted lynching of Jamal and his companions. 13

The Settler Connection

Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews live in close proximity in Acre, a U.N. World Heritage site, as they have done for generations. But in recent years, extremist Jewish groups affiliated with West Bank settlers have moved in with the stated aim of making the city more Jewish.

Palestinians are concentrated in the central old city and near the harbor while Jews are established in the eastern part and outer rings. The vast majority of the Jewish residents of the city are Mizrahim-working class Jews whose first generation came as immigrants to Israel from Arab countries. Mizrahim, although Jews, also faced severe discrimination by an Israeli state dominated by European Ashkenazi Jewish elites. Both communities are disadvantaged in different ways. Many Palestinians in the city are the survivors and descendants of those who were forced to leave their homes when Israel was established in 1948. All but 3,000 of the city's 13,000 Palestinian citizens in 1948 were forced out. Today, Palestinians comprise about 27 percent of the city's population. Like all Palestinian citizens of Israel, they have experienced systematic legal, social and economic discrimination and political exclusion. Mizrahim were often pushed to the edges of Israeli Jewish society and in many cases were housed in the former homes of expelled Palestinians. 14 Culturally marginalized and much poorer than Ashkenazi Jews, the Mizrahim have become the base constituency for the right-wing Likud party, Shas and other overtly racist anti-Arab parties.

Given the numbers of people involved in the troubles, long-time Jewish residents were certainly among them. But some Arab residents blamed the worsening tension not on long-time residents but on an influx of militant youth affiliated with the national religious West Bank settler movement. Indeed, Baruch Marzel, a settler leader from near Hebron in the West Bank, visited Acre during the riots and vowed to help Jews in the city to set up a "defense organization."15 Barzel was a leader of the banned Kach party founded by the late Meir Kahane, which supports the expulsion of all Palestinians, and he remains a prominent leader of racist settler groups.

Yeshivat Hesder-Akko founded in 2001 is a pro-settler national religious school in the midst of a now majority Arab neighborhood called Wolfson. Over the years, many of the area's Jewish residents had become more affluent and moved out, and poorer Arabs moved in. The Yeshiva is run by Yossi Stern, a rabbi from the militant West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh. Stern, who is also on the Acre city council, told The Washington Post last year that he and his associates were working on projects designed to "attract Jews to Acre," including a 350 unit housing complex designated for Jewish military families and another yeshiva. Palestinian residents and leaders consider these efforts to be part of a systematic assault on their presence in the city using tactics long deployed against Palestinians in the West Bank.16 Some accuse Acre's Likud mayor of supporting the efforts.

Yeshivat Hesder-Akko's own website states that "[f]rom a luxuriant Jewish neighborhood it [Wolfson] has turned into a decrepit Arab neighborhood." The school, whose students are Israeli military-religious trainees, is to "to try to return and strengthen the Jewish character of the city." Although the city was "almost lost" to Jews, the site states that "the long awaited salvation has begun." According to the website, the yeshiva was built with funds from a donor in New York.17 Volunteers have also raised funds from synagogues in the United States for the "special aim of the yeshiva [which] is to attract more young Jewish families by strengthening and maintaining the Zionist Jewish character of this ancient Jewish city."18

Two years ago, similar but much less serious disturbances occurred in Acre during another Jewish holiday. Arab Knesset member Zakour had previously written to Israel's public security minister appealing for police protection for the Arab communities against harassment by Jewish extremists, including the stoning of Arab cars during Jewish holidays.

An almost identical hesder-yeshiva (this term means a school for Israeli men who combine religious study with service in Israeli army units) was recently founded in the Arab Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, south of Tel-Aviv, also with the goal of increasing the Jewish population of that city.19

The events in Acre coincide with an upsurge in violence by the radical settler movement against Palestinians across the Israeli-occupied West Bank including a pipe bomb attack against an Israeli left-wing professor. 20 While those actions have received more attention, the activities of affiliated groups against Palestinian citizens of Israel have been largely ignored.

Reactions in Israel

Arab leaders in Acre met with police officials and publicly called for calm and reconciliation, and they also condemned Jamal's incursion into the Jewish area regardless of how innocent. On October 12, Arab Knesset member Abbas Zakour accompanied Jamal to Israel's parliament to make his public apology in an attempt to appease the Jewish community and restore calm. Yossi Beilin, leader of the Left-Zionist Meretz party, blamed Israel's neglect of the Arab community, particularly since the October 2000 shooting of 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel by the police.21 One Palestinian member of the Knesset called the clashes "a pogrom perpetrated by Jews against Arab residents" and accused the police of discrimination.

Israeli national leaders, including caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister designate Tzipi Livni and President Shimon Peres, called for calm and called on "both sides" to refrain from violence. They portrayed the events as being religious and communal in origin and did not note the political context of efforts to judaize the city. Peres visited Acre and convened a meeting of Arab and Jewish civic and religious leaders aimed at restoring peace. 22

Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, the head of Israel's Islamic movement, accused Israeli political and religious leaders of facilitating the actions of extremists over a long period of time with the goal of heightening tensions so that Palestinians inside Israel could eventually be expelled. He said Acre's Palestinian population was being targeted for "cleansing" and that Arabs in other coastal cities including Haifa and Jaffa could be next. 23 The fears that events in Acre were evidence of a concerted effort to expel them were widely echoed by Palestinians in Israel.

Some of the Israeli politicians who have been most outspoken in calling for the expulsion of Palestinians and supporting radical settlers did their best to confirm such fears, engaging in the kind of incitement that has been escalating in recent years. 24 Knesset member, former cabinet minister and settler Effie Eitam called the events "an anti-Semitic pogrom at the heart of Israel on the holiest days of the Jewish people." Another member called on the authorities to "respond harshly to the Arab pogrom on Yom Kippur." Esterina Tartman, a Knesset member of former Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party, called for the removal of Palestinians citizens from Israel on the grounds that "the pogrom in [Acre] is yet another confirmation that Arab Israelis are the real danger threatening the state." 25

Some Jewish residents of the city circulated calls for Jews to boycott Arab businesses to punish the Palestinian population. 26

Reactions among Other Palestinians

Palestinians in the 1967 Occupied Territories generally viewed the events in Acre as a continuation of Israeli state violence of the kind routinely directed against them. They also reasserted their identification and solidarity with Palestinians inside Israel.

Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elected in January 2006 and now confined to Gaza, said that his "government was following with concern what was happening in Acre and what the Arab Palestinian population was facing by way of vicious attacks by Zionist settlers." Haniyeh added that these attacks were part of a strategy to force Palestinians out of their land and homes." A Hamas-affiliated website also condemned what it called the silence of the Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. 27

Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza City took part in a "popular conference in solidarity with the people of Acre" at which leaders of many political factions expressed unity with Palestinians in Israel.28 Thousands marched in a solidarity rally in Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp.

A handful of Palestinian resistance factions said they could take "revenge" if actions targeting Palestinians in Acre continued. 29

A search for official reactions from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas did not yield any results.


Although Israel has officially recognized the systematic discrimination faced by the country's Palestinian citizens and the fact that little has ever been done to address it, Israeli leaders tended to view the events in Acre as being about "Arab-Jewish" community relations inside the country. They typically respond to Arab-Jewish tensions with promises of better funding for Arab communities, although such pledges are almost never fulfilled.

The violent actions of settler groups against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have gone unchecked by the Israeli army. There is now clear evidence of similar organized, planned violence being directed at Palestinians inside Israel. There is no sign that the Israeli state is prepared to confront it any more than it does in the West Bank. Unless this changes, there is a strong likelihood that violence may resume and spread notwithstanding the precariously restored calm. This may destroy the remaining threads of coexistence inside Israel. Jewish extremists would see that as a success if their goal is to create the conditions for the removal of Palestinians from Israel.

Palestinians across the political spectrum, inside and outside Israel, saw the events as a manifestation of the wider Palestinian-Israeli conflict rather than a local community-relations matter. For Palestinian citizens of Israel, the events highlighted their own precarious situation in the face of mounting racist incitement against them by Israeli politicians and media. The arrest and detention of Tawfiq Jamal, even after he publicly apologized at the Knesset and barely escaped from a lynch mob according to official sources, is likely to be seen as a further provocation and injustice by beleaguered Palestinians in Israel.

Historically, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority have refused to represent the interests of Palestinians inside Israel. Despite this, Palestinians at the grassroots level throughout historic Palestine and the diaspora have maintained their ties. They are expressing new forms of cross-border solidarity and political action.

The international community has always treated Israel's violations of the rights of the 1.5 million Palestinians inside Israel as an internal matter. The events in Acre, and especially the role of the national religious settler movement, provide early warning that this already inadequate approach will be even more ill-equipped to cope with spreading strife that will not respect lines on a map.

Ali Abunimah is a fellow at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. He is an expert on Palestine, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Abunimah also co-founded The Electronic Intifada, an online publication about Palestine and the Palestine-Israeli conflict, Electronic Iraq and Electronic Lebanon.
The views expressed in this information brief are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.
1 Jack Khoury, Nadav Shragai and Yoav Stern, "Acre sees worst violence in years as Jews and Arabs resume clashes," Haaretz (website), 9 October 2008, Update of 21.29.

2 Ammar Awwad, "Israel's Acre suffers third night of violence," Reuters, 11 October 2008, (), Accessed 13 October 2008.

3 Yaakov Lappin, "Eyewitness: 'This is our city'," The Jerusalem Post, 12 October 2008, , Accessed 13 October 2008.

4 (In Arabic) Ra'id Dlasha, "Akka: atfal wa nisaa' 'arabiyat yata'aradoun li'itidaa' saafir; al-shurta tu'azziz quwwat biwahdat khasa wa quwat musta'ariba," Arabs 48, 13 October 2008, 13 October 2008.

5 (In Arabic) "Masadir israiliyya tu'akkid tadaffuq 'adad min nushataa' al-haraka al-istitaniyya ila akka," Arabs 48, 13 October 2008 Accessed 13 October 2008.

6 Ahiya Raved, "Akko: Displaced Arab families made eligible for public housing," Ynet, 13 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

7 "Acre driver apologizes for incident," The Jerusalem Post, 12 October 2008.

8 See Isabel Kershner, "Israeli City Divided by Sectarian Violence," The New York Times, 12 October 2008, .

9 Sharon Roffe-Ofir, "Northern District police commander: Majority of Akko riots are Jews," Ynet, 12 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008; See also, Sharon Roffe-Ofir, "Police official says intigators of Akko riots Jewish," Ynet, 12 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

10 Sharon Roffe-Ophir, "Arab motorist: I narrowly escaped lynch in Akko," Ynet, 9 October 2008. Accessed 13 October 2008.

11 Hagai Einav, "Akko: 54 arrested in 4 days of riots," Ynet, , Accessed 13 October 2008.

12 "Acre driver apologizes for incident," The Jerusalem Post, 12 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

13 Jack Khoury, "Police arrest driver who sparked Acre riots for 'harming religious sensitivities'," Haaretz, 13 October, 2008.

14 See Joseph Massad, "Zionism's internal others: Israel and the Mizrahim," in The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, (Routledge, 2006).

15 See Sharon Roffe-Ofir, "Peres visits Akko, urges side to exercise tolerance," Ynet, 13 October 2008 , Accessed 13 October 2008.

16 See Scott Wilson, "Israel's Arab Citizens, Isolation and Exclusion," The Washington Post, 20 December 2007.

17 See "About Us" page on Yeshivat Hesder-Akko's website, Accessed 13 October 2008.

18 Abigail Klein Leichman, "Back from Akko to help hesder yeshiva," The New Jersey Jewish Standard, 21 June 2006.

19 Eli Senyor, "Jaffa: Yeshiva to be built in heart of Arab neighborhood," Ynet, 24 September 2008.

20 See Jonathan Cook, "State's weak responses make Jewish extremism stronger," The National, 27 September 2008.

21 Yoav Stern and Yuval Azoulay, "Livni tells Acre residents: Don't take law into your own hands," Haaretz, 10 October 2008.

22 Jack Khoury, "Peres in Acre: We have many religions, but one set of laws," Haaretz, 13 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

23 (In Arabic) "Ahdath akka ... samt murib li sultat ramallah wa ghiyab lilnitham al-rasmi al-'arabi," Palestinian Information Center, 13 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

24 See Ali Abunimah, "Anti-Arab Racism and Incitement in Israel" Palestine Center Information Brief No. 161, 25 March 2008.

25 Amnon Meranda, "MK Eitam slams 'anti-Semitic pogrom in heart of Israel," Ynet, 9 October 2008. Accessed 13 October 2008.

26 Ahiya Raved, "Akko: Jewish residents call for boycott on Arab businesses," Ynet, 11 October 2008.

27 (In Arabic) "Ahdath akka ... samt murib li sultat ramallah wa ghiyab lilnitham al-rasmi al-'arabi," Palestinian Information Center, 13 October 2008, Accessed 13 October 2008.

28 (in Arabic) "Ghazza: al-mi'at sharaku fil mu'tamar al-sha'bi allathi nathamhu markaz filastin lildirasat walbuhuth ma' ahali madinat 'akka," Arabs 48, 12 October 2008.

29 "Gaza militants vow revenge for Acre violence," Xinhua, 12 October 2008.

13 October 2008

ACRE - A pogrom perpetrated by Jews against Arab residents

One of the pogromists
A car window smashed by the pogromists
Israeli police forces out on the streets in the northern city of Acre, where rioting has continued for three nights.
Acre burning, like Mississippi or Johannesburg!
On Thursday, Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) responded to the clashes in the northern city , calling the violence a "pogrom perpetrated by Jews against Arab residents."
The word pogrom has a resonance in the history of European Jews. In Odessa in 1881-2 hundreds died as a result of the pogroms instigated by the Czarist rulers. In Kishinev in 1903 a similar pogrom took place and throughout the Pale of Settlement pogroms were a regular feature of Jewish life. It was this, more than anything else, that brought the anti- General Union of Jewish Workers in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia into existence. Whilst the Zionists were busy dreaming of emigrating to Palestine in order to further their plans for colonial settlement, the Bund set up self-defence squads.
Who then could have believed that the ‘Jewish State’ would complete the circle and turn Jews into pogromists and Palestinians into the equivalent of the Jews of Czarist Russia? And even the reaction of the Police is no different to the Czarist police who like their Israeli counteparts, would arrest and attack the victims. Below is an article by a prominent Israeli Palestinian activist.
And of course, in the best traditions of the Nazis and anti-Semites, the pogrom against the Palestinians is being portrayed inside Israel as an anti-Jewish pogrom!
'Jewish residents of Akko (Acre) in northern Israel spent Yom Kippur eve in an unusual fashion: they were the targets of a pogrom by their Arab neighbors.'. Monday, October 13, 2008 7:30 PM

The two following excerpts from reports in today's Haaretz on the Israeli-Jewish pogrom against Palestinians in Acre demonstrate how Israel is a much more evolved version of apartheid.

Zionism's grand deception and spin master of all times, Shimon Peres, is, again, called to the rescue, muddying any possible insight into the nature of Israel's regime of racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinians. This is a job Peres has perfected. After the Jenin massacre, it was Peres who played the most significant role in scrapping the international commission of inquiry's investigation. After the first Qana massacre which he was personally responsible for, the same. And so on.

Here, without any sense of shame, Peres repeats the same lies that any Palestinain kid can refute: that the same law applies to Jews and "non-Jews" in Israel. The indigenous Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, denied the right to own, rent or live on 93% of the land of the state of Israel think otherwise.

The Palestinian victims -- all Israeli citizens, of course -- of Jewish terrorists in Shafa 'Amr and Jeruslem know otherwise.
The Palestinian cancer patients dying slowly due to the intentional and so far unscrutinized proliferation of polluting Israeli industrial and military sites on or in close proximity to their lands know otherwise. After all, an official, multi-year mapping of cancer in Israel studied the incidence of the disease and its correlation to the existence of polluting sites in every Jewish town, Kibbutz, city and village, but omitted every single Palestinian town or village in Israel (with the exception of Rahat). And so on....
In Acre, the Palestinian man who experienced the lynching attempt by a fanatic Jewish mob was arrested for "speeding and reckless endangerment." Blaming the victim 101!!
Israel is sophisticated, evolved, and has unmatched influence over western media outlets ... but it is still apartheid.
Omar Barghouti
President Shimon Peres on arrived in Acre on Monday, after clashes between the city's Arab and Jewish populations raged for several days, to attend a Muslim-Jewish conference, during which he called for an end to violence, saying "though there are several religions in Israel, there is only one law and one police. ... Nobody wants the Muslims to be Jewish and the Jews to be Muslim, but in Israel the law must be respected. There is one law and one police."
Last update - 21:10 13/10/2008
The Arab man who drove into a Jewish neighborhood in Acre on the eve of Yom Kippur, sparking a series of riots and violent clashes, was arrested by Police Monday for speeding and reckless endangerment in connection to the incident. Later Monday, An Acre court extended Tawfik's remand by five days pending further investigation.
An unnecessary prize for violence
Haaretz Editorial
The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee will convene today to discuss the difficult events taking place in Acre and the decision of mayor Shimon Lankri to cancel the Fringe Theater Festival, which was scheduled to open in the city during the intermediate days of Sukkot.
Lankri claims the atmosphere of "anger and offense" among residents will not allow the festival to take place. However, committee chair Ophir Pines-Paz is certain the event is an important means of strengthening Acre's image as a cultural center and symbol of coexistence. "Canceling the festival is a prize for violence," Pines-Paz said.
Lankri's decision is hasty and mistaken. Police commanders said that large numbers of security forces would be needed to secure the festival area even after the storm dies down, but they did not recommend canceling the event. Why then does Lankri rush, at the end of the holiday and the peak of the riots, to call on the "nation of Israel" to throng to the festival, only to make the opposite statement shortly afterward?
The mayor's helplessness is fanning the flames of the city's bonfire of the vanities, which will anyway require greater efforts to extinguish. The false impression of calm, controlled coexistence in a city that is not really mixed but built of neighborhoods of separate populations, conceals explosive rage and bitterness caused by the residents' ever-growing struggle.
Even the Jews who settled in the city in different periods since the state's founding were mostly poor new immigrants. These new weak classes added to the existing poverty and distress of the Arabs, and the city suffered from severe negative migration. In recent years, since the decision by former prime minister Ariel Sharon to strengthen Jewish communities in mixed cities, Acre's Jews have enjoyed tax reductions and generous budget allocations, giving the city a facelift.
There were other sides to Acre's "Judaization.' The Jewish neighborhood of professional army officers in the north of the city and the Hesder yeshiva (which combines army service with Torah study) are active. But these only deepened the already strong feelings of discrimination and offense among Arab residents.
Religious, economic and social tensions therefore deepened - and not for religious or nationalistic reasons, as some extremist political voices have claimed. A clear example of this came with the October 2000 riots, in which 12 Israeli Arab citizens and a Palestinian were killed by police during demonstrations in the city of Umm al-Fahm.
The Or Commission, established to investigate the tragic event, emphasized the link between the systematic discrimination suffered by Israel's Arab citizens and the bitterness, anger and frustration that resulted in the escalation of the usual Land Day demonstration held every year. The commission members delineated the various areas of discrimination and showed how every successive government failed to fulfill its promises to the Arab public. But despite the grave warning sounded by the commission, no government has implemented even one of its recommendations.
There is no shortcut in trying to calm spirits in Acre or anywhere else, and such efforts must be made in every government ministry by means of a comprehensive and courageous program. Canceling the festival, which will primarily hurt Arab merchants in the city, adds unnecessary weight to the calls to "punish the Arabs," and is the exact opposite of such a plan.
Last update - 17:03 12/10/2008
Acre Jews warn: Arabs will kill you with knives
By Gideon Levy
A young woman - kerchief on her head, baby in her arms - stood behind the barred windows of her apartment yesterday and shouted: "Get all the Arabs out of here... We don't want them here... They've made our lives a misery."
The balcony blinds of the adjacent apartment are shattered. Its former residents, the family of Mahmoud Samary, are gone, having temporarily fled the hail of stones on their home. The young woman yelled: "They should get out. The Arabs are taking all our girls."
It was Saturday afternoon at number 18, Burla Street in Acre - part of a crowded, shamefully neglected housing project where three Arab families and 29 Jewish families inhabit a single building. At the entrance to the building, a group of policemen stood around idly. The street was lined with cars with shattered windows.
It was not only Bosnia that Acre called to mind yesterday; the city was also reminiscent of Nablus - checkpoints at every corner, hundreds of policemen under every parched tree. A city that could have been a tourist attraction was instead the most miserable in Israel. My colleague Jack Khoury, an Israeli Arab, said as we entered the neighborhood: "I don't believe I'm traveling here in such fear and tension."
A young man who lives in the project told us aggressively: "Don't you dare enter the Old City. The Arabs will kill you with knives." He would like us to leave his neighborhood, too.
But the Old City, just a few minutes' drive away, was another world: In that beautiful but neglected neighborhood, which was virtually empty yesterday, people were mourning the cancelation of Acre's theater festival and still speaking of peace and coexistence.
Acre went up in flames all at once. It was a clash between poor and poor, Jews and Arabs, egged on by nationalists, with a religious holiday as the catalyst - the most dangerous of all possible clashes, which threatens to ignite a conflagration. The fire could be out by press time, but as of yesterday afternoon it seemed liable to break out anew: Young men from the housing project had agreed to meet at 7:30 P.M. that evening, God only knows why.
Yet even if the fire is extinguished now, it will reignite someday. This binational city is sitting on a volcano - a volcano of nationalism and distress, fear and hatred.
If the housing project was the tensest party of the city, the saddest was the Old City, where the empty halls were all that remained of the theater festival that was supposed to have taken place this week. The spotlights had been removed, the actors and directors were gone, the tables in the cafe on the lawn remained folded. Instead of the festival, Acre got a scandal - the scandal of its cancelation.
The technical crews said it was outrageous to cancel the most important event of Acre's year "because of 100 or 200 psychos." They suggested holding a reconciliation festival instead, and promised to ensure the guests' safety. "You also fight with your wife, but then you go to bed with her," analogized one, Asfari Khalil.
Munir Abu al-Tayir, who sells pomegranate juice, had thus far sold exactly two glasses all day. At a nearby felafel booth, a young Arab responded to Jewish claims that the riots were provoked by an Arab driver blasting music on Yom Kippur by saying that during Ramadan, the Jews had offended Arab sensibilities by drinking beer, but there were no Arab riots. Issam Jalem, owner of a barbershop, warned that without the festival, "things will not be good."
To all, it was clear that Mayor Shimon Lankri's hasty decision to cancel the festival had one purpose, and one only: to punish the Arabs who earn their living from the event.
F., an Arab resident of the largely-Jewish Kibbutz Galuyot Street, fled his house with his wife and children; now he fears the house will be torched. Salim Najami, a city councilor, denounced all extremists, Jewish and Arab alike. Daoud Halila, director of an Arab non-profit organization, accused the police of "pampering the Jews." Long-time communist Salim Atrash blamed the disengagement from Gaza, saying an extremist yeshiva that opened in the city following the pullout has been fanning the flames.
Atrash pulled out a copy of a notice that has been cirlating on the Internet: "We will no longer buy anything from Arabs, we will not honor any of their holidays or any place of theirs. Arabs of Acre, go find your place in the villages." The notice was signed with an epigram: "A Jew is the son of a king, an Arab is the son of a dog."
Welcome to a little Bosnia in the making.

See also the Alternative Information Centre report